Due to the design flexibility of LEDs the creation of the LED Strip came about, broadening the ways light can be applied. An LED strip is a flexible circuit board with surface mounted LEDs soldered onto it. It comes in various lengths and colours as well as adhesive backing for easier appliance. LED strips are usually packaged on a reels and have individual sections soldered to complete the reel. LED strip provide us with a huge range of opportunities for lighting design as enable us to build the lighting in to the fabric of the building itself.
LED strip have been used in accent lighting, back lighting, decorative lighting and task lighting but recent advancements have increased the luminous efficacy and lifespan which allow high ambient lighting.
In this image of the Lighting design for the hotel lobby it has been used as an accent light to the back of the reception desk with a shadow gap and to accentuate the texture of the reception desk. The way that the LED is hidden and incorporated is an important detail to get right to ensure the light source remains hidden with out causing additional shadowing
We are often asked why is it that you can buy something from ebay for £5 a metre and then an architectural lighting manufacturer might charge upwards of £100+ a metre. The difference in cost is primarily down to the quality and thus reliability which can vary massively from brand to brand.
The following points effect the cost of the LED tape;
LED binning is how closely each LED matches the colour temperature and colour quality of the light source.
No batch of LEDs are the same as there are minute difference’s in the amount and quality of phosphors applied during the manufacturing process.
In its simplest terms the higher the binning the more likely all the LEDs within the strip are going to match each other and the higher the perceived quality of light.
The lower bins you risk having a perceivable difference in colour temperature across from one chip to another.
LED technology used.
Typically an LED strip includes a resistor on the circuit. The more expensive tape will often have a micro chip which is used to help regulate the output of the LED.
LED light quality
Typically the more expensive LEDs will have a higher CRI value, creating a better environment for people to interact with.
Typically the more expensive tape have a higher copper content within the backing which will help with the over all heat dissipation thus improving the reliability.
The more expensive kit will also typically have a branded LED chip from a manufacturer such as Samsung, Cree or citizen.
Wattage and Voltage
Typically LED ribbon come in 24V or 12V and are generally constant voltage. There is 240V tape out there but has not had a huge uplift in useage.
Typically we use 24V as there is less voltage drop issues when compared to 12V meaning that you can have longer LED runs with a smaller cable diameter making installation costs lower.
To calculate the driver size you simply times the watts per metre by the length.
So if the tape consumed 10W per m and you have 8 metres of tape you would require an 80W driver.
Typically the maximum amount of tape driven off one driver is 10m though this varies between manufacturers.
LED and Heat
Roughly 30% of an LEDs output is lost through heat – so it is important to try and remove this as much as possible. This is typically done by mounting LED ribbon on an aluminium profile or heat sink. The more expensive LEDs don’t always require a heat sink.Typically a heat sink is made from aluminium. It also helps provide protection for the LED from dust and makes for a more finished product.
Here at the lighting design studio we source from a variety of suppliers depending on the application and budget.
If you do have any queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch.